Third, as nationalism is on the boil in France and across Europe, globalism and transnationalism – the vision of an EU evolving into a federal union, a United States of Europe, leading to the dream of One World – no longer seem to be the future. They no longer inspire, if ever they did.
When survival is at stake, one may hear from a politician not what he believes – but what he thinks the people deciding his fate wish to hear.
By that standard, what do the people of France, in the final weeks of their presidential election, wish to hear from their candidates?
President Nicolas Sarkozy seems to believe his countrymen are in a deeply nationalistic frame of mind.
Five million Muslims live in France, but he is cracking down on Islamists. He is demanding that the Schengen Agreement, under which Europe’s nations maintain open borders, be renegotiated. If immigration from outside Europe is not restricted, says Sarkozy, he will pull out of Schengen.
He is demanding a “Buy European Act” for public contracts. He will confront Japan and China on trade. Were he running in the USA, Sarkozy would be denounced as a protectionist and nativist.
His strategy? He wants to finish first in the first round of voting April 22, by siphoning support from the rightist National Front of Marine Le Pen.